Mercedes-Benz S-Class Review

Gumtree Rating

4.5 rating

When it comes to luxury travel, few cars can compete with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Combining exquisite comfort with all the latest in German technology, the S-Class has been reigning supreme in the full-size sedan market since 1972. What’s more impressive is the sleek styling, including the signature long bonnet that holds a very capable engine underneath. Whether you’re planning to drive it yourself or be chauffeured in one, it would be hard not to admire the S-Class’ presence in your garage.

Visit the Mercedes-Benz S-Class model page to explore available cars and learn more.

What we think about the Mercedes-Benz S-Class

A top contender in the luxury saloon market, the S-Class truly upholds everything that the three-pointed star stands for.



Refined finish


Superb engines


Lots of top-line tech



Petrols aren’t cheap to run

The S-Class was first introduced in 1972 and is currently in its fifth generation. Through the years, it’s been made available in saloon, cabriolet and coupe versions. The latest 2013 generation is available in two petrol options, two hybrid models and a diesel version, with a choice of two trim levels. Although the high-performance AMG may be considered a further trim, it is really a car on its own.

Driving performance of the Mercedes Benz S Class

Our Driving Rating9 / 10

Technological brilliance and exceptional driving dynamics are really the highlights of the S-Class. While the car is extremely comfortable with its quiet cruising (not to forget the massage seats), you’ll be surprised how sharp and nimble the handling is when you flick the gearstick from drive mode to the sport settings. The air suspension can be a touch finicky at times, but it’s hardly noticeable thanks to the large alloy wheels. Expect a quiet ride all the way through, and a splendid performance when you give the car permission to test the roads.

Safety and reliability of the Mercedes Benz S Class

Our Safety Rating9 / 10

Although the latest generation hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP, the S-Class is still one of the safest cars on the road. Backing the car’s safety tech are the many awards and accolades that the Mercedes group wins year after year from various crash-test agencies across the globe. Standard safety tech right from the 1995 models includes driver, passenger and side airbags, and traction control which helps manoeuvre the car in rainy or snowy weather conditions. In terms of reliability, it’s not faced any major recalls since 1999, and Mercedes’ exceptional build quality is unparalleled.

Under the bonnet of the Mercedes Benz S Class

Our Engine Rating9 / 10

On the 2013 generation, the petrol range kicks off with the 3.0-litre six-cylinder unit producing 367 bhp, which zips the car from 0-60 mph in under 5.1 seconds, hitting top speeds at 155 mph. The turbocharged S500 drops the 0-60 mark to 4.8 seconds, while the plug-in hybrid manages a respectable five seconds. The entry-level diesel S 350 d hosts a six-cylinder 2.9-litre unit that produces 286 bhp, and is by far the most popular variant. The AMG series is the way to go if brute force is what you’re after. All cars from 1999 are equipped with a five-speed or seven-speed automatic gearbox.

What you'll find in the Mercedes Benz S Class

Our Design Rating9 / 10

The gold standard in the executive market, the S-Class is all about projecting a mature, clean look, which it achieves through its sweeping roofline and long wheelbase. The current sixth-generation is quite the showstopper, as it was the first car on the market to exclusively use LED lights inside and out. Sculpted lines, neat design details and a bold grille accompany the three-pointed star to make for a subtle exterior with just the right dash of glam. As part of 2017’s facelift, the car received new LED daylights and a fresh grille, but the key design has worked like a charm for decades now.

Comfort and interiors in the Mercedes Benz S Class

Our Comfort Rating9 / 10

Luxe comfort is the core design principle of the S-Class and, naturally, the interiors are quite the palatial affair. The long wheelbase is designed to ensure there’s no lack of space and neatly placed cubbies ensure a very comfortable journey. Everything feels soft and plush thanks to the exceptional build quality. A refined fit and finish with the use of top-notch materials have made the S-Class stand out in the luxury market for years now, and there are few cars that can come close to this level of perfection.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class interior dashboard

What features you'll find in the Mercedes Benz S Class

Our Features Rating9 / 10

From the 1999 model, all cars have been equipped with the COMAND input control system, along with a navigation system with a centre console-mounted screen display. While the latest models have obvious improvements in tech and gadgetry, you’ll hardly find the older generations to be lacking. What stands out in the 2013 model is the addition of Intelligent Drive, which gives you a 360-degree view around the car. The options package includes a rear-seat entertainment system with a pair of 10-inch screens and the Burmester high-end 3D Surround Sound System which has 24 speakers.

What fuel efficiency to expect from the Mercedes Benz S Class

Our Fuel Consumption Rating7 / 10

In the 2013 generation, the hybrid is the most fuel-efficient and delivers 113 mpg, making it highly suitable for the city and town use that corporate buyers can expect. The popular entry-level S 350 d diesel in the 2013 generation is also quite economical and returns more than 50 mpg. The bigger S 500 d unit achieves 40 mpg, while older diesel models also have similar efficiency. The petrol models rank poorly in terms of fuel efficiency and can barely reach 30 mpg.

Running costs of the Mercedes Benz S Class

Our Cost Rating8 / 10

As a luxury car, the S-Class falls between insurance groups 46 and 50. The hybrid version ensures low road tax for the first year, but all other models return more than 100 g/km CO2. Although the fuel efficiency is perhaps better than expected for a car of this size, running costs remain on the higher side. You may rake up a heavy bill for servicing, as well as for the consumables such as tyres and brakes. It’s worth considering one of Mercedes’ monthly plans to reduce one-time costs on an annual or bi-annual basis.

Our verdict of the Mercedes Benz S Class

4.5 rating

4.5 / 5 Gumtree rating

A class-defining car, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a dream that's well worth realising.